Cyber attack is biggest of its kind ever launched, say security chiefs

Bruno Cirelli
Mag 16, 2017

Desperate attempts to contain the world's biggest cyberattack appear to be working early Monday. Europol, the European Union's police agency, said the onslaught was at "an unprecedented level and will require a complex worldwide investigation to identify the culprits".

But the aftershocks have so far been mild. "You're only safe if you patch as soon as possible", he tweeted.

More than 200,000 victims in 150 countries have been registered so far, with warnings the impact could spread further on Monday.

At least one hospital was affected, according to police. The demand would double after three days, or data would be destroyed.

Carmaker Renault said one of its French plants, which employs 3,500 people, wasn't reopening Monday as a "preventative step".

Security vendors have been pushing the ransomware message for most of the last 12 months with products and accreditations all part of efforts to get more partners engaged.

Wainwright said the agency is analyzing the virus and has yet to identify who is responsible for the attack.

The blame game has already started.

Microsoft president Brad Smith used Friday's global ransomware attack as a chance to call once more for the nations of the world to create and adhere to a set of Geneva Convention-like rules in cyberspace.

But he also placed fault in national governments. Companies including Hitachi and Nissan Motor Co. reported problems but said they had not seriously affected their operations.

Exploits in the hands of governments have repeatedly leaked into the public domain and caused widespread damage, wrote Smith, who compared the leaks of Central Intelligence Agency and NSA vulnerabilities to the USA military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen. However, this aggressive strain of ransomware is a solid example of the chaos that can ensue when organisations aren't prepared and don't have control.

"Once a machine is infected it will scan the entire internal network and infect other vulnerable machines". Labour said it had not heard "a dickie-bird" from the Tory MP, while the Liberal Democrats said the government had been "treating the NHS and its staff like dirt". The virus also affected many hospitals and transportation networks across Europe.

Cyber experts including the researcher who activated the kill switch have, however, warned that more such attacks could take place with different versions of the ransomware.

Gas stations: State-run media in China reported that some gas stations saw their digital payment systems shut down, forcing customers to bring cash.

The new infections were largely in Asia, which had been closed for business when the malware first struck. The central bank reportedly said those monitoring the cyberattacks found "no incidents compromising data resources of banking institutions".

"Some systems were affected by the mitigating action we had to take to prevent spread and these are now up and running again and staff continue to work to clear any backlogs". In fact, fully updated systems were largely protected from WanaCrypt0r even before Friday, with many of those infected having chosen to delay installing the security updates.

Britain's National Cyber Security Center said it could have been much worse if not for a young cybersecurity researcher who helped to halt its spread by accidentally activating a skill switch in the malicious software.

Southport and Ormskirk Hospital said difficulties with its IT system are ongoing. It notes that cybersecurity is increasingly becoming a shared responsibility between tech companies and customers, the former relying on the latter to keep their critical systems updated, just as people rely on companies to put out secure systems.

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